Their job titles in the West Seneca School District ranged from bus driver and cook, to teacher and assistant superintendent. Combined, they worked 1,860.25 years for the district.
Monday night, the names of about 90 employees heading into retirement were read during a ceremony preceding the West Seneca School Board’s meeting. Almost half of them were there, to walk to the front of West Senior High School’s auditorium. They accepted certificates, coffee mugs and the thanks of administrators and School Board members.
“We have said all along that the greatest asset in the school system lies in our human resources,” School Superintendent Mark J. Crawford said to the group, which gathered on the stage for a photograph. “We have all kinds of wonderful experience going out the door.”
Many bus drivers were among employees with 30 years or more with the district. There also were several teachers; with 40 years, West Elementary School teacher Celeste Robertson had served the longest.
Among those retiring is Charles J. Lehman, assistant superintendent of pupil personnel services, who worked 15 years for the district. The School Board unanimously approved the probationary appointment of his successor, Brian Graham, currently the principal of West Middle School.
Also retiring is East Elementary School Principal Deborah Ann Staszak, who’s worked there 36 years in various capacities.
Carolyn M. Kick, currently the assistant principal at West Elementary, received a probationary appointment as principal of Northwood Elementary.
The School Board recognized West Senior High School choral director Keith Ersing, who in April was one of four people to receive an Excellence in Music Education Award from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra/Erie County Music Educators Association.
Ersing graduated from East Senior High School and has worked for the district since 2000. “West Seneca has been a wonderful supporter of music education and the arts,” he said. “I implore you to continue to do so.”
District officials also announced that $115,424 was raised this spring in the annual Goin’ Bald for Bucks fundraiser to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Led by Dyan Scritchfield, an English teacher at East Senior High School, more than 250 people either had their heads shaved – in support of cancer patients whose hair is lost during treatment – or their long locks cut to donate to Locks of Love, which provides hair prosthetics for financially disadvantaged youth suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
Monday night, Crawford signed a ceremonial check payable to Roswell Park. On hand was Jennifer Hickok, director of special events and corporate partnerships – and a 1994 graduate of East Senior High School.
“You put other people ahead of your own self, and that’s a character trait that each of you should carry into the future,” Hickok told a group of students.
The money raised by West Seneca accounted for 20 percent of the total monies raised, Hickok said.
“We thank you for the support. We couldn’t do it without you,” she said.